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  • SafeHaven Freedom Ministries

Killer High: The Silent Crisis

Updated: Jul 1, 2023

Reposted from SafeHaven Freedom Ministries Blog March 17, 2023

In 2015, 9,580 people died from fentanyl overdose in the United States. That number grew quickly to 36,359 in 2019. 3,040 of those deaths were people 15 to 24 years old. The biggest threat in counties is no longer Covid, but substance abuse.

President and founder, Parents and Addicts In Need, Flindt Anderson, says “This is something I have never seen before. The increase in the amount of people of all ages that are using something to escape.” “When kids can sit in their living rooms next to their parents and order drugs off snapchat, something is wrong!”

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid medication used in hospitals for controlling peoples’ pain. Where as heroine is natural, coming from the opioid poppy flower. Fentanyl is man made in a lab and there is nothing natural about it. When someone is in severe pain it quickly acts on opioid receptors in the body to mediate pain. However when someone is in very little pain or no pain at all, it can make you stop breathing . Now, what we are seeing is fentanyl is being found in a contaminated pill supply in the whole united states. Drug cartels mainly from Mexico but now in every county, are producing by using pill presses to look like pills for pharmaceuticals that are currently marketed to kill people. Greed is driving this and so many young people aren’t intending to die, they are dying by accident. In the history of law enforcement battling narcotics, this isn’t an epidemic or a narcotic where you can analyze statistics or look at a map and say, it’s only affecting this part of the country. We’re only seeing mass consumption in the Midwest or Northeast.

amber glass with blue pharmaceutical pills

"This poison knows no bounds", says Jeffrey Barbero, a Supervisory Special Agent of Homeland Security Investigations. There are two ways fentanyl gets into the United States. The first way in which is the longest, international mail like from China and across the border from Mexico in vehicles and then distributed throughout the United Sates. Usually in a powder format and can be adjusted into counterfeit pills called, blues or "dirty thirty". They are made to look like a Percocet pill. Second, shipments are brought over and not one pill is the same and everyone’s body doesn’t react the same. Drug dealers will sell knowingly that their clientele may die from what they sell, but dealers will take the chance knowing that they may not have a “Hot shipment” that causes death resulting their consumers coming back.

Sometimes that “Hot shipment” might result in 3-4 fentanyl poisonings meaning, instant death can happen. For a transnational drug cartel, these pills are costing them pennies on the dollar, fifty cents to make. Here, these pills are going for $25-$30 per pill. Profit margins are huge. It takes the size of the point of a sharp pencil of fentanyl to be lethal. If someone takes what would be considered to be a fatal dose of fentanyl, they would only have 10-15 minutes if that to live. 18-35 is the age group for these cases and now even younger.

The face of addiction is no longer a homeless person without any teeth. The face of addiction is a 17-22 year old that went to your typical local school, grew up in a loving home and orders pills off the internet to have delivered to their parents neighborhood, while the parents have no idea. This looks like a young adult suddenly having no interest in their passions, quitting the sport they played most of all their childhood, arguments to get them to come out of their room and engage in family and unplug from social media, it can result in expulsions and

drugs becoming bigger. Parents today don’t understand how much trouble we are in and how much trouble these kids are in. There is a lack of inpatient rehabilitation centers for young people. It’s very hard to find a program for them that is residental.

What do you do for the kid using or hooked? How do you detox a minor? There are more families going through this more than anyone realizes. Parents don’t cause this and they can’t control it. “There is such a high volume of this substance that we can not police or prosecute our way out of this crisis.” “We have to educate people,” says District Attorney, Lisa Smittcamp.

Narcan is a opioid reversal substance. A nasal spray that can help if used in time. Training on how to distribute is very important and every family should have some in their house or on them when out and about. No one wants to think they can be a part of a “stigma” but the next persons’ life depends on it. No longer is it a time to think, "I don’t need this." My kids would never. There is no more time. Drug dealers don’t care who die.

“Let’s get information out there to these students about fentanyl it’s no longer a few kids dying anymore, the few kids are just the ones we know about,” says Jim Yovino, Fresno County Superintendant of Schools. The Supply and demand will not stop, it’s not a problem that can be solved. We have to continue fighting and when there is no way to speak in mass there are other ways to speak. Billboards in communities, victims families speaking out, unfortunately with their stories of their sons and daughters that have passed. Families can start drug awareness campaigns to educate and continue to be a resource to other parents, helping them to see warning signs of drug abuse in teens and the importance of Narcan.


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